ASIA/SYRIA - Illegal expropriations against Christian landowners in the Kurdish-controlled north-eastern area

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Qamishli (Agenzia Fides) - In the north-eastern Syrian region of Jazira, cases of illegal confiscations and expropriations suffered by Christian owners are multiplying, events denounced mainly by citizens who have been forced to leave their homes and emigrate during the years of the recent conflict that has torn Syria apart. This is reported by sources linked to the Assyrian Democratic Organization (Assyrian Democratic Organization-ADO), a historic political formation led by local Christians. By denouncing the phenomenon, the ADO militants confirm that the expropriation of property illegally seized from Christian owners takes place in urban and rural areas controlled not by the Syrian government apparatuses nor by the residual opposition groups of the Islamist galaxy, but rather under the power of the so-called Northeast Autonomous Administration, also known as Rojava, a region run by the Kurds and de facto subtracted from the domain of Damascus.
Cases of expropriation and fraudulent sale of properties belonging to Christian citizens - according to the AINA Agency - were registered in the urban centers of Qamishli, Hassakè, Derek and Tal Tamr. The Agency also refers to the complicity of influential people in the Autonomous Administration who have so far ensured the cover-up of the fraudulent expropriation complaints submitted to local judicial institutions.
The Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria is run by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish-led forces and militias formed during the years of the Syrian conflict. The regional administration has the support of the United States, and in its political declarations it expresses its intention to establish a secular, democratic and federalist government in the region. The Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO), founded in Syria in 1957, has as its declared objective the preservation of the instances of the identity of the Assyrian, Syrian and Chaldean populations in the area, who share the Christian faith and also claim a bond of continuity with the peoples and civilizations present in Mesopotamia before the Arab-Islamic conquests. Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the ADO had sided with the opposition front, though it has since repeatedly lamented being the target of marginalization and selective exclusion within the galaxy of anti-Assad acronyms and factions. The northeastern region of Syria, renamed Rojava by the autonomists, continues to be subject to heavy incursions by the Turkish army. The Ankara government does not tolerate seeing the growth of a de facto autonomous entity controlled by Kurdish political forces and militias in Syrian areas near its borders. Turkish military operations in recent months have also hit towns and villages in the Khabur Valley, traditionally inhabited by Christians. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 12/7/2022)